The oblique muscles support and aid in side-to-side movement, helping maintain back strength and healthy posture. There are two oblique muscle sets, the internal and external obliques. Maintaining a strong core is one recommended way to protect the body and spine. However, many forget to train and strengthen all of the oblique muscles. Individuals tend to focus on the superficial core muscle, or rectus abdominis, and not enough or any attention goes to the lateral stabilizers or the internal and external obliques. Chiropractic and functional medicine can restore musculoskeletal flexibility, mobility, and function.

Oblique Muscle Strengthening: El Paso's Chiropractic TeamOblique Muscles

The external obliques make up a large part of the trunk area. There are two external obliques on either side of the body, located on the lateral sides of the abdominal region. These muscles have an essential role in daily movements.


  • External obliques help with trunk rotation and support spine rotation.
  • They assist with pulling the chest down to compress the abdominal cavity.
  • They help with bending from side to side.
  • Any strain or injury to these muscles can lead to abdominal, hip, and back issues.
  • Maximizing external oblique strength is important to maintain a strong core.


The internal oblique is a muscle deep within the lateral side of the abdomen.

  • The internal oblique muscle is one of the main stabilizers and functions to flex the trunk and compress the chest.
  • Its positioning makes it invisible, but it still has an essential role in body movement.
  • This muscle can function bilaterally, meaning both sides can operate at the same time.
  • These muscles provide spinal and posture support.
  • Strain or injury in this area can cause posture problems and abdominal, hip, and back issues.

Rotation and Mobility

The internal and external obliques are the primary rotators of the spine and provide thoracic spine mobility.


If the internal obliques are inhibited, compensation can cause an alteration in the sequence patterns of the posterior oblique subsystem.

  • When this system is not functioning correctly, individuals usually complain of discomfort in the hips and shoulders.
  • A common sign of oblique inhibition is individuals holding their breath during basic movement patterns to gain stability, indicating dysfunction in the intrinsic stabilization subsystem.
  • Simple movements include walking gait, single-leg stance, flexion, extension, etc.

Symptoms of Dysfunction

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Shoulder pain
  • Flexion posture – Janda’s upper-crossed syndrome.
  • Internally rotated hips.
  • Decreased hip extension.
  • Knee instability and discomfort.
  • Sacroiliac joint locking and soreness.
  • Lower back discomfort and soreness.
  • Lumbopelvic hip destabilization.
  • Decreased ability in acceleration and deceleration when walking.

Dysfunction in one area leads to imbalances in other areas, affecting movement and causing impairment syndromes that can include:

  • Muscle imbalances.
  • Decreased stamina.
  • Decreased strength.
  • Increased fatigue.
  • Central sensitization
  • Increased stiffness and tightness in myofascial structures and kinetic chains.
  • Increased risk of injury from unbalanced movement patterns and reaction times.

Chiropractic Reset

Chiropractic care, massage, and decompression therapy can restore body balance through:

  • Soft-tissue release of the thoracolumbar fascia.
  • Mobilization to subluxated areas of the thoracic spine, pelvis, and hips.
  • Manual therapy
  • Instrument-assisted soft-tissue release. 
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Laser therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Corrective and strengthening exercises

Chiropractors and spinal rehabilitation specialists recommend specialized exercise regimens to target these muscles that include:

  • Power Plate training
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • High-intensity interval training – HIIT

If you are experiencing waistline, hip, and low back stiffness or tightness and pain, consult our professional chiropractic team. We’re ready to help!

Oblique Anatomy and Movement


Calais-Germain, Blandine, and Stephen Anderson. Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland, 1993.

Cook G. Movement: Functional Movement Systems: Screening, Assessment, and Corrective Strategies. Aptos, CA: On Target Publications, 2010.

Elphinston J. Stability, Sport and Performance Movement: Practical Biomechanics and Systematic Training for Movement Efficacy and Injury Prevention. Lotus Publishing, 2013.

Huxel Bliven, Kellie C, and Barton E Anderson. “Core stability training for injury prevention.” Sports health vol. 5,6 (2013): 514-22. doi:10.1177/1941738113481200

Myers TW. Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2001.

Neumann DA. Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Physical Rehabilitation. St. Louis: Mosby, 2002.

Starrett K, Cordoza G. Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Pub., 2013.

Weinstock D. NeuroKinetic Therapy: An Innovative Approach to Manual Muscle Testing. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2010.

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Oblique Muscle Strengthening: Functional Health Wellness Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.